Business groups file lawsuit to block minimum-wage hike in St. Louis

A group of Missouri associations and businesses have filed a lawsuit against the city of St. Louis and Mayor Francis Slay seeking to block the implementation of the recently approved minimum wage.

The suit, filed in St. Louis City Circuit Court, alleges that the city's minimum wage conflicts with the Missouri Constitution and the charter of the city of St. Louis. It asks the court to declare the city's minimum wage ordinance is in conflict with Missouri statutes and to block the city from enforcing the wage increase.

On Aug. 28, the city's Board of Aldermen gave final approval to the ordinance to implement a minimum wage in the city. The bill would institute a city minimum wage of $8.25 per hour on Oct. 15. That would rise incrementally to $11 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018. After that time, it would rise based on the Consumer Price Index. Any employee who works 20 hours or more in a calendar year would be affected.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit fighting the minimum wage include Cooperative Home Care Inc., the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Missouri Restaurant Association, the Missouri Retailers Association, the National Federation of Independent Business, Carrie Elligson Gietner Home and Associated Industries of Missouri.

The lawsuit alleges that members of the groups represented by the plaintiffs will be forced to make sudden changes to their operating models in order to remain profitable under the new minimum wage, including "increasing their prices, cutting labor hours, reducing their work force, moving from the City or closing their business and ceasing operations altogether."

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